Local Return


UX Research, UX Design, Web Design


Local Return




Presented to stakeholder and received high praise.


Consulting for the Rhode Island Community Fund, designing and iterating based on qualitative and quantitative insights from the research to help it redesign its digital experience.


Local Returns is a nonprofit organization that builds community wealth in Rhode Island through ownership and investment. Based on user research, we designed an interactive website to introduce the whole system and solve the identified problems.‍We use gamification to attract the interest of potential investors and simplify the "Learn-Match-Invest-Feedback" process to make the whole process smooth and enjoyable.


We interviewed stakeholders, potential investors, local small businesses, and conducted quantitative research. In the process, we understood how community funds work and identified their pain point, which is the difficulty of connecting potential investors with local small businesses.


To further understand people's perceptions and concerns about community funds, we conducted questionnaires on campus and in the city as well as an offline survey.

For the questionnaire, we created profiles of three small business owners from different backgrounds and industries. We asked the people to choose how much they would be willing to donate or borrow to different small business owners.


According to the study, we found that people are more willing to lend more money to small business owners than to donate. And focus on the profitability of the business when lending, and whether they are regularly involved in the industry themselves. People who drink coffee regularly are more inclined to invest in coffee shops, for example. This insight led us to think about how we can make more people involved by building a sense of community connection.


Based on the resulting data, we proposed five recommended features to the fund. After discussions with stakeholders, we decided to focus the digital experience on three parts: Introduce the system, Transparency of the process, and Sense of community and personal connections.



In our design, we created the feeling of community through a 3D interactive website. Users can learn how the community funding process works by clicking on the RI Fund building. Meanwhile, the webpage features a selection of small business owners, and users have the option to view store details and choose to invest. At the same time, users can check the real-time movement of funds through the donation slip number, thus solving the problem of trust.

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